MindMate provides an award-winning app helping people to care for those suferring from dementia.
Worldwide, there are 44 million people suffering from dementia and numbers are expected to increase. Feeling powerless and dependent is usually the greatest cause of pain and anxiety for people in the early stage of any form of dementia.
What is more, caring for a family-member with dementia can be a stressful 24/7 task, which is usually a second full-time job. MindMate wants to help these people and empower those who feel powerless.
With their Assistance-App, they provide a unique all-in-one package with brain-games, physical exercises, nutrition advice, a learn more section and useful everyday-tools to engage the users, make them as independent as possible and empower them.
Family-carers use the app to get their work done more easily, in terms of a more time-efficient caring process.
BQ caught up with the team to find out how they got started.
What inspired you to start-up?
Every one of MindMate’s four co-Founders has a different story regarding the inspiration to start-up.
Rogelio’s grandfather suffered from dementia and he saw that having dementia is a big challenge not only for the patient but also for the family and the carers. Rogelio wants to help people by doing what he loves and use his skills in the technical field to improve the lives of many people.
People who managed to build something from nothing have inspired Gabriela to start-up. Having the independence, a dynamic team and also the related challenges to drive you to create a product that can improve peoples’ lives is what drives her.
Patrick’s inspiration to start-up lies in his motivation to build something instead of climbing the corporate career ladder. Inspired by his first hand experience as a civil servant in an elderly people’s home, he wants to use his addiction to numbers to create something which can really change the lives of millions of people.
Susanne’s inspiration to start-up her own business came from other female entrepreneurs such as Sophia Amoruso, Sheryl Sandberg and Tory Burch. She never felt comfortable in the corporate world, as she felt constrained and not able to use her full skill-set. Susanne is driven by the thought of being able to improve the quality of life for people who are affected by dementia.
How did you go about starting up, did you apply for funding or did you self-fund the project? If so, where did you secure funding from?
We started with MindMate end of March 2015 and applied to several competitions to fund our start-up costs. We received money from Enterprise Pathway Challenge, Young Innovators Challenge, Santander 60-Second Pitch and the Santander Summer Company Programme, which allowed us to develop our first Beta-Version of the app, which we are currently testing. We have also just secured a place on the Enterprise Campus Accelerator Programme, which will provide additional financial support to us, therefore allowing us to modify our app to our Beta-Testers needs later this summer.
Where do you get advice/support/help?
We get help and support from Marion Anderson, who is the Enterprise Manager at the University of Glasgow and also Josh Sauter, the Enterprise Campus Manager who has given us great support and business advice. We have also received support from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, which has been very helpful in providing business advice and additional support as required.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Before we decided to name our product MindMate, we had a different name, which was not appropriate for our product. One of our biggest challenges was therefore to come up with a new name and rebrand, which was especially difficult because people already knew us by another name. We ran a series of focus groups and canvassed local opinion in order to decide on a more appropriate name and that has certainly been one of our biggest challenges so far.
What is your next big target?
Our next big target is the launch of our App in September. We aim to launch first in the UK and then the US later in the year. We also have plans to develop a wearable device, which would make our App even more effective, so that will be a goal post launch.
What is the best and worst thing about being a start-up?
There are so many good things about being an entrepreneur and starting your own business! One of them is definitely that you keep learning every day and that every day is different. Furthermore, you can do what you love and you have the freedom to organise your work around your needs. Also, we have all developed new skills, which we would have never developed in a corporate job.
There are no "worst things" about being an entrepreneur, but, if we have to name something, then it would be the risk of failure, which is linked to job security, which also links to the variable that you simply don’t know if the work hours everyone is investing are paying off.
What makes this idea different?
Our idea is different because we provide a medically backed all-in-one solution to improve the lives of more than just one target group. With our specific design we emphasize user-friendliness and an intuitive interface, which also makes us different.
Who would be your dream customer?
Our dream customers are people in the early stages of dementia and carers of dementia patients, who are willing to use tablets in order to help them cope with the onset of the disease. What these people have in common is a need for maintained independence, supportive advice and further information around the disease. Our dream customer believes that dementia doesn’t mean the end of his/her life, but that our app can increase his/her personal safety, and assist in helping them to maintain their dignity and happiness.
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